The potential impact of brain training methods for enhancing human cognition in healthy and clinical populations has motivated increasing public interest and scientific scrutiny. At issue is the merits of intervention modalities, such as computer-based cognitive training, physical exercise training, and non-invasive brain stimulation, and whether such interventions synergistically enhance cognition. To investigate this issue, we conducted a comprehensive 4-month randomized controlled trial in which 318 healthy, young adults were enrolled in one of five interventions: (1) Computer-based cognitive training on six adaptive tests of executive function; (2) Cognitive and physical exercise training; (3) Cognitive training combined with non-invasive brain stimulation and physical exercise training; (4) Active control training in adaptive visual search and change detection tasks; and (5) Passive control. Our findings demonstrate that multimodal training significantly enhanced learning (relative to computer-based cognitive training alone) and provided an effective method to promote skill learning across multiple cognitive domains, spanning executive functions, working memory, and planning and problem solving. These results help to establish the beneficial effects of multimodal intervention and identify key areas for future research in the continued effort to improve human cognition.
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